Monday, October 22, 2007

You are just a tool!!!

I have been thinking about the tools that make my job easier over the past weekend and those that certainly do not.  Here is a brief list of those that help improve my personal productivity.

  1. Trillian - Instant Messaging is an essential tool for me.  It makes quick conversations from one office to the next easier, and for those of us who tele-commute, it is almost like being there.  But, I have folks on Yahoo, AIM, MSN, etc.  Trillion handles them all very easily.  Nice tool and the basic version is free.
  2. Windows Live Writer - I am currently managing 2 blogs.  In addition to this one, I also have a blog entitled Obsessive Compulsive Reef Disorder, which talks about my reefkeeping hobby.  Window Live Writer makes it so easy to post to both blogs in a single tool with  point and click ease.  Adding pictures, inserting links are all a piece of cake.  The fact that it is free adds to its appeal.
  3. Microsoft Office - Being in an open source company, this one is always under debate.  In fact, we used Open Exchange briefly.  But, the rest of the known world uses Outlook and I can't live without it.  Its not the mail that is essential because there are many ways to handle mail, but it is the calendaring.  I let Office manage me.  If its not on my calendar, I will miss the meeting, plain and simple.  And scheduling a meeting is a piece of cake, too.  You can see when people are available and schedule accordingly.  Don't see a real replacement here yet.
  4. PDA/Phone - I have been searching for the ultimate combo unit for a long time.  I have had the Treo 600, Treo 650, Treo 700p and Treo 700w.  I loved my Treo, but was not a big fan of the Windows version.  It had promise but I was constantly forced to reboot.  And to make matters worse, we implemented Good Messaging at work for a while which disabled my standard calendar, email and contacts.  That really became a nightmare.  Now I have the Blackberry 8830.  This is my first crackberry and I can see the addiction.  It just works.  It does not have a touch screen.  But, I miss that less and less every day.  I am hoping that the next generation of iPhones will move the bar even further and be available on Verizon. 
  5. Netvibes - Netvibes is a great web 2.0 home page.  It has slowly replaced My Yahoo for me.  I can add multiple tabbed pages and get all the information I need in one spot from news, sports, weather and stock info to manage my eBay account, pull RSSS feeds and search videos and images.  I can even track this blog through it and analyze web stats about our corporate site.  Check it out.

My new favorite software by far, however, is Clearspace.  Its not a personal productivity tool, but rather a collaboration software suite for your intranet or extranet.  I am going to dedicate a whole post to Clearspace.  But, you can check it out here.

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